In The Forest Image

In The Forest

By Bobby LePire | February 25, 2022

In The Forest, written and directed by Hector Barron, strands three generations of a family — grandpa Stan (Lyman Ward), mother Helen (Debbon Ayer), and teenage daughter Emily (Cristina Spruell) — in the middle of the woods. After they settle in, pitch their tents, and attempt to fish, Howard (Don Baldaramos) informs them that they are on private property. So, the trio attempt to leave, only for one of the RV’s wheels to get stuck in a hole. When trying to get it free, grandpa is seriously injured.

For reasons that are too stupid for any rational human brain to understand, Helen is against separating, convinced that she and Emily need to be there to take care of Stan. However, by morning, with no help in sight, she finally relents. To that end, Helen hikes toward the main road and stumbles upon a house. Finding the door unlocked, she enters, hoping to find a landline to call emergency services. Instead, Helen discovers the young Andrew (Matthew Odette) chained to a bed, screaming to be set free so he can save his sister. But, not all is as it seems, as Helen’s choice to help or not has unintended and dangerous consequences.

“…Helen discovers the young Andrew chained to a bed, screaming to be set free…”

Barron’s first film in nearly a decade suffers from a pretty massive flaw. Helen is such a nagging moron that it is a miracle she made it past age 10, much less to middle age. Seriously, after her dad (aka grandpa Stan) gets injured, her instance that everyone stay together is both nonsensical and potentially fatal. Mind you, she is not a nurse or a doctor. Yes, some first reactions, such as blaring the horn hoping that someone hears it, make sense. But, after a few minutes of trying that or a few other things, she does not reassess what is working. In fact, her plan the next morning is to do it all over again! If Helen isn’t the dumbest character in any movie all year, it’ll be a rough year, cinematically speaking.

There’s a terse exchange between Helen and Emily, where the daughter is trying to (quite calmly, given the circumstances) to talk her into taking a different approach. Helen’s response to Emily is that she “always disagrees with everything” she says. No, you poor stupid lady, she’s trying to save her grandpa by being proactive. Mercifully, In The Forest eventually finds its footing when Helen does venture further for help yet encounters more trouble.

In The Forest (2022)

Directed and Written: Hector Barron

Starring: Debbon Ayer, Matthew Odette, Cristina Spruell, Don Baldaramos, Lyman Ward, Sharon Sharth, Time Winters, etc.

Movie score: 7/10

In The Forest Image

"…a twist occurs that subverts expectations..."

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